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Changes to the FCAT 2.0 — 2011 and 2012 Comparisons

Changes to the FCAT 2.0 — 2011 and 2012 Comparisons

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Published by: Jacksonville Public Education Fund on May 25, 2012
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05/13/2014

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Update:PerformanceonFCAT2.0
Sincethereleaseofthisyear’sthird-gradeFCAT2.0ReadingandMathematicsscoresyesterday,therehasbeenmuchconfusionaroundwhatthescoresmeanwithrespecttoachievementinpreviousyears.ConsideringthatoverthepasttwoyearsFloridahas(atdifferenttimes)changedboththetestitself(FCATtoFCAT2.0)andthescaleandpassingbenchmarksthetestismeasuredon,itisunderstandableforconfusionandfrustrationtoarisewhenthestakesinvolvedaresohigh.
WhatHappened
Muchoftheconfusionfollowingfromyesterday’sreleasewasduetothedifferencesbetweenproficiencylevels
reported 
lastyearandproficiencylevelsretroactivelyappliedtolastyears’datausingthenewscale–whichtheDOEisnowusingtocompareyeartoyearperformanceinthisyear’srelease.Asaquickrecap,upuntil2011studentsweretakingtheFCAT–whichhaditsownmeasurementscaleandestablishedproficiencylevelsandpassingscoresappropriatetothattest.In2011,thetestitselfchangedtothenewFCAT2.0,amorerigorousexamalignedwiththenewNextGenerationSunshineStateStandards(implementedinanticipationofgettingstudentsreadytomeettheexpectationsoftheCommonCoreStandardscomingin2014).Stillwithme?HoweverwhenthenewFCAT2.0wasadministeredlastyear,itdidnotyethaveitsownnewmeasurementscaleestablished.Soinordertomaintainyear-to-yearreportingconsistency,themeasurementscalefromtheoldtest(FCAT)wasappliedtotheresultsofthenewtest(FCAT2.0).Asaresult,reportedperformanceonthenewtestlastyearlookedverysimilartoperformanceontheoldtestfrompreviousyears.Earlierthisyear,thestatecompletedtheprocessofestablishinganewmeasurementscaleuniquelytailoredtothedemandsoftheFCAT2.0tobeusedmovingforward.Thatiswhatisbeingusednow,andwhattheywerenowabletogobackandretroactivelyapplytolastyear’sdataforcomparisonsake.Byreapplyingthenewscaleandstandardstolastyear’sdata,thenewresultslookedasiftherehadbeenlittletonochangeinperformancelevels.Whilethisistrueandmoreaccurate,itisstillnolessconfusingtothosewhorememberbeingtoldthat72%ofstudentswereproficientstatewidelastyearandarenowbeingtoldonly57%actuallywere.InTable1below,weseethisyear’sperformancelevelscomparedtowhatwasreportedlastyear(inyellow)andlastyear’sactualperformancereportedthisyear(inblue).
 
2012%Level3andAbove2011Level3and Above(PREVIOUSLYREPORTED)Changebetween2011(PREVIOUSLYREPORTED)and2012Performance2011Level3and Above(RETROACTIVELYRESCALED)Changebetween2011(RETROACTIVELYRESCALED)and2012Performance
Reading
DuvalCounty
51%
69%-18%55%-4% State
56%
72%-16%57%-1%
Math
DuvalCounty
56%
79%-23%56%0%State
58%
78%-20%56%+2%Tobeclear–theconfusionoccurringthisyearislargelytheresultofwhattheDOE
didandreportedlastyear 
–applyingthepriorFCATscaletothenewFCAT2.0testresultstotrytomaintainsomekindofyear-to-yearconsistency.Lastyear’sresultswereartificiallyscaledtomatchstudentperformancelevelsfromthepreviousyear,ratherthanmeasuringstudentsagainstanindependentscale,andthusnotatruereflectionofperformanceontheFCAT2.0atthetime.Whilethereismuchangeraboutthescalebeingchangedthisyear,thatwasthecorrectandnecessarythingtodo–itjustshouldhavebeendonelastyear.
Howthescalechanged
Asidefrombeingmoreappropriatelyalignedtothecontentofthenewtest,thenewmeasurementscaleisactuallyanimprovementovertheoldscaleinafewkeyways.InFigure1below,weseetheachievementlevelcutoffscoresforgrades3-10ontheoldscaleforthepreviousFCAT.
Figure1:PreviousFCATDevelopmentalScaleScoreCutScores
 
865861086158620862586345678910
 
ThelowestlinerepresentsthecutscoresbetweenLevel1andLevel2achievementacrossgradelevels,abovethatisthecutscorelinebetweenLevel2andLevel3,andsoonup.ThediamondlinerepresentsLevel3andabovecutoff.Weseethatatfacevaluethecutoffsappeartobenotveryconsistentacrossyearsandtobecomemoreclosertogetherovertime,makingitmoredifficulttoscoreinLevels2,3or4athighergradelevels.ComparethatnowwiththeachievementlevelcutoffscoresonthenewFCAT2.0measurementscaleinFigure2below.Weseemuchmoreconsistencyinexpectationsforeachlevelbetweentheloweranduppergradelevelsinthenewscale.
Figure2:NewFCAT2.0ScaleScoreCutScores
Thissimplecomparisonisusefulforbecomingbasicallyorientedabouthowtheprevious(FCAT)andnew(FCAT2.0)achievementlevelstandardsoperaterelativetooneanother,buttheyareinsufficientformakinganyfinalconclusionsabouthowthetwosetsofstandardscompareforanumberofreasons–includingthattheyreflectgrowthontwodifferentscales.Toaccountforthesescaledifferences,anotherwaytocomparethesetwosetsofstandardsistolookatthepercentageoftotalpossiblepointsateachgradelevelthatstudentsmustearntomeeteachcutoffscoreunderthetwosystems.Forexample,thepreviousFCATdevelopmentalscalerangedfrom86to3008points.A3
rd
gradercouldscorebetween86and2514onthatscale(a2,428pointrange)andneededtoscoreatleastan1198toreachtheLevel3cutoff.Giventhepossiblerangeofpointsa3
rd
gradercouldscorein,ascoreof1198wouldmeanearning46%ofthetotalpossiblepointsa3
rd
gradercouldearn(or,ineffect,
150170190210230250270290345678910

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